Old Town tells a story…
In the early 1900’s, Burns Koonce was a young boy growing up alongside the Chattahoochee River in Columbus, GA. Like most boys during that time (before the days of tablets and video games), Burns loved being outside and all the adventures that came with it. From time to time, such adventures included visiting his cousins in Prattville, AL, where they farmed hundreds of acres for corn and soybeans, as well as livestock for beef and dairy. For Burns, the times he spent in Prattville exploring the farm, a young boy’s endless playground, were some of his best childhood memories.
As he grew older, nostalgia motivated Burns to one day purchase, manage, and explore a farm of his own, and in 1950, Burns Koonce purchased his first parcel of land in Columbus, which 63 years later would become Old Town.
At the time Koonce purchased the property, there were four existing farmhouses. The largest of the four sat atop the highest hill on the land, which today is known as Vee’s Park, named after Burns’ wife, Virginia, who was often referred to as Vee by her closest friends.
Koonce would enjoy the Muscogee county farm for many years raising chickens, Black Angus cattle, and free range guinea fowl. Above all else, Burns enjoyed taking his three children, Calvin, Virginia (named after her mother), and Franklin to the farm, hoping to provide them with timeless memories such as the ones Burns had from his childhood.
Many early, damp mornings were spent trailing a spaniel, anticipating his discovery of a covey of bobwhite quail. Summer afternoons in the Georgia heat, Calvin, Virginia, and Franklin would swim for hours to cool off in the lake Burns had built himself, which today can be gazed upon from the Old Town Mill or the lakeside Swallowtail Flats.
The years passed. Columbus was growing rapidly, and the Koonce farm quickly became very desirable real estate, something Koonce had anticipated back in 1950 when he purchased the land. Calvin, the oldest of the three children, would eventually control the welfare of the farm, and it was in 1994 when the Woodruff Company initially engaged Calvin regarding real estate opportunities for his family’s farm. With help from the Woodruff Company Calvin purchased adjoining parcels, and over time the Koonce family farm grew to become 300 acres, which today is known as Old Town, the first Southern Living Inspired Community in the country.
The vision of Old Town has existed for over 10 years. Through years of research, communication, investment, and implementation, Old Town comes from the sincerest of places. Old Town captures the spirit of Burns Koonce from his adventures as a boy on a farm. Old Town welcomes you to enjoy the simpler things, like Calvin and his siblings once did on this very property.
Old Town is a place where the best things in life occur outside, on front porches, in tree swings. Where southern charm and hospitality meet the modern conveniences of today…
Meet the Old Town Team
Founded in 1982 by James L. Strickland, Historical Concepts specializes in the art of traditional place-making.
The award-winning firm designs homes, neighborhoods and communities based on the long-standing principles of traditional architecture and planning.
Inspired by historical precedent and enamored by Southern vernacular, the design teams at Historical Concepts take great pride in creating places that are exceptional in quality and during in value.
Hand-picked by the magazine editors, Southern Living Inspired Communities are neighborhoods marked by charm, taste, and Southern spirit that embody a distinctive pride of place.
They embrace the natural beauty of the Southern landscape, display the best of Southern Living inspired architecture, and contain environments that foster communal gatherings.
"Southern Living Inspired Communities shows our pride of place in bricks and mortar," said Southern Living Editor in Chief Lindsay Bierman, who is also a trained architect and previously worked for New York's renowned firm Robert A.M. Stern Architects. "The program builds on our legacy of Southern style and brings to life the timeless design principles we advocate and celebrate through multimedia content. We're proud to offer a new level of consumer service that will radically simplify the process of finding the perfect home in the best neighborhood."
This initiative is the culmination of nearly 50 years of the brand's experience in the Homes category. In addition to covering homes across the South for decades, the brand sells a successful line of branded House Plans designed by the South's top architects. It has created a hand-selected group of trusted builders with its Southern Living Custom Home Builder program and has worked with the South's top talent to build Idea Houses across the region.
"We've always said our consumers truly live the Southern Living brand," said Southern Living Publisher Greg Schumann. "These Inspired Communities will now offer people a means to uniquely live our brand on a daily basis. This exciting new initiative will deepen our relationship with consumers while offering marketing partners an innovative new platform to connect with our audience."
Old Town is proud to be one of the very first Southern Living Inspired Communities!
As Southern Living put it best, Old Town is a neighborhood that embraces pride of place and encourages new traditions of living in the South.
We are so excited to be a part of this new venture with Southern Living!